'Sommelier on the Slopes' is a much-loved event in the ski calendar of the gorgeous Alta Badia region of Italy and hugely popular with our foodie minded clients. We sat down with sommelier, Hubert Kastlunger to find out more about this one of a kind experience.
How does the Sommelier on the Slopes programme work?
The majestic backdrop of UNESCO World Heritage site the Dolomites creates the perfect setting for ‘Sommelier on the Slopes’, a relaxed afternoon of skiing alongside a professional sommelier, stopping off along the way at three of Alta Badia’s beautiful mountain huts for a tutored tasting. At each hut, participants taste three wines from the South Tyrol region, learning about its heritage and tasting each, under the expert guidance of the sommelier – I have even been known to strip off my ski wear to reveal full sommelier dress with a smart bow tie and apron! The tastings are organised by the Alta Badia Tourist Board, in association with the South Tyrol Wine Consortium and South Tyrol’s Sommelier Association. Tickets need to be purchased in advance and booking early is advisable as all dates in 2017 were sold out!
Why will it appeal to a skier who enjoys wine?
If you love skiing and good wine, can you imagine a nicer way to spend an afternoon? It’s an instant hit with everyone who takes part. Small groups ensure the experience is kept personal, and not only do you get to ski some of Alta Badia’s beautiful slopes, following a local who knows the pistes backwards, but you also get to taste the very best of the region’s wines. If it's not too chilly, tastings can take place outdoors with the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site as the backdrop, or cosy up in one of Alta Badia’s beautiful mountain huts.
Will the guests learn about local wines and pairings?
Yes – wines will vary at each hut, from sparkling wines to white and red wines. Guests will also learn about the grapes and individual processes used to create the chosen wines and the sommeliers will also recommend the dishes that the wines would best be served alongside. With 'A Taste for Skiing' taking place all season long, you can also extend your learning by sampling these dishes during your stay in Alta Badia, each designed by a Michelin starred chef in partnership with a mountain hut and served with a perfectly paired wine.
What makes the wines of South Tyrol so unusual?
The South Tyrol wines are unique because of the remarkable terrain, the variety of different climate characteristics and soil properties.
Do you have a particular favourite local wine and if so, what is it about this wine that you love?
I personally love fresh and sourness-accented white wines and there are lots of delicious ones from the South Tyrol region. Pinot Bianco, Kerner and Sauvignon Blanc fit my taste exactly.